Thursday, 26 February 2009

Ghosts and Raspberries

Following on from my recent entries regarding ghostly sightings I have managed to find a picture of Pluckley station which as you can see despite some modern day extras such as electricity is almost as built condition. The station site dates from the 1840,s so with the passage of time and trains it has fared well. It is the only station on Southeastern to be in the form left by the SER which ceased to exist in 1899. The third rail alongside the tracks is the electric traction supply for trains.

I seem to have been lucky with the first session of chemotherapy and the only side effect I seem to have is total boredom. To pass the time I have upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 on my computer and its a completely different language to anything I have ever used before, especially with pivot tables (if you dont know what they are its best not to know!) Had to return to the hospital on Tuesday for a blood test and was asked to ring in the afternoon for the result. When I did they could not find the result!!! However they did ring me on Wednesday morning to tell me that they could not test the blood as it had clotted. I am going back on Friday morning for another blood test and have to see the consultant on Tuesday afternoon. They have given me a chemo hotline number to ring in an emergency i.e. if my temperature goes above 37.8 but so far its not been above 35.

A friend has sent me an article about raspberries. Aparently they contain all sorts of good things which can help defeat cancer. They also have considerably less calories than strawberries so its probably just as well that I like them! The other interesting thing about them is that they contain more vitamin C than oranges, so even if they dont fight the cancer I will still enjoy them safe in the knowledge that I wont get scurvey!

Take Care


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Home again

Again I must thank you all for your kind thoughts.

I have just come home from hospital after the first session of R-DHAP chemotherapy, which apart from being stuck on a drip for most of the time was not reallyt that bad. The line insertion was not that bad either as it was done by ultra sound rather than x ray and meant that I did not have to have a marker dye inserted. In fact the biggest problem was that as a man I have hairs on my chest and they could not find a razor to shave the area and had to put the dressing straight on, result every time I stretch I indulge in a bit of self waxing!

Howwever I think there is worse to come as I have been told that the side effects of the chemo will kick in soon, the worst being neutropenia which means my imune system has been supressed and if I come into contact with someone who has a common virus such as a cold it could kill me-not a pleasant prospect! I have to stay off work until the end of the course of chemo (a couple of months) which to be perfectly honest is a prospect that I do not relish even though I appreciate the neccesity.

Again thanks for all your kind thoughts


Monday, 16 February 2009

Line Installation

I had the Hickman Line inserted today as a day case, well more of an afternoon case to be honest. The wound is seeping a little but aparently that is to be expected. Trouble is my shirt has some red stains on the front now!

Have to ring the hospital at 9 in the morning to confirm that a bed is available and expect to be in for three or four days. its a nice ward though, each bed has its own TV and there are only four beds in each bay which has its own bathroom there should be no queing to wash or use the loo.

Will post again over the coming weekend to let you know how things are working out.

Anyway thats enough of my problems, i hope you are all keeping well.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Chemotherapy starts

Just had a phone call from the hospital.

Have to have a blood test done on Sunday and have the line inserted on Monday.

They hope to start chemo on Tuesday so at last things are beginning to happen.

I honestly can not say I am looking forward to it but I am still positive, after all Rolls Royces have punctures and are still back on the road again!


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Ghostly Sightings

Yes I have actually seen a ghost.

Part of my job is visiting all stations in the Southeastern TOC area. Depending on the size and revenue of the station visits are made either twice or four times a year. Pluckley is one that gets visited twice and is quite a unique location in so far that the station building is the original one built by the original SDouth Eastern Railway back in the 1800's. It has obviously seen some improvements such as the installation of electricity and is actually situated in the hamlet of Chambers Green some two miles from Pluckley village itself.

Pluckley village has the reputation of being the most haunted village. The resident member of staff at the station must know me to well as thew first thing she says when i arrive is 'I have put the kettle on'! Anyway on this occasion she made the tea and I completed the audit which got its normal high score (we are not that harsh) and being fully housetrained took my cup out to the kitchen to wash it up.

Have you ever entered a room and felt that someone else was there and as i turned round caught a glimpse of an elderly lady dressed in Victorian clothing. I say caught a glimpse because it was a case of seeing her and when I looked closely she had vanished.

I mentioned it to Fiona and she said that she had seen her several times, the first time it had scared the s**t out of her but there was never any harm or other problems after the sightings.

The only record of a death at the station was back in 1919 when a porter was killed by a passing train whilst crossing the track so maybe the ghost is his mother.

I am always open minded about this kind of thing and I am quite happy to believe in ghosts and things like spiritulism but I know there are lots of reported sightings, for example Borley Rectory in Suffolk comes to mind.

Went to Maidstone Hospital yesterday for an assesment to fit a Hickman Line for chemotherapy and waited over an hour only to be told by a nurse what the consultant had already told me. At the moment treatment is not due to start for another two weeks.

Hope you are managing to avoid the storms and flooding, heavy frosts are forecast for the next couple of days, so take care and keep warm.


Friday, 6 February 2009

Bad News

As the title indicates it was not good news from the oncologist today.

The lymphoma has returned and as they are treating it as a re ocurrance rather than a new problem I can not have the same treatment as before as my body has probably built up a resistance to those drugs.

Instead I have to have a form of chemo known as R-DHAP which will be given intaveneously over 3 days as an in patient in hospital every month for four months. If that is not succesful I will need to have a stem cell transplant which means hospitilisation for a month followed by a months recovery. As the consultant said it looks like 2009 is going to be a c**p year.

In myself I actually feel better than i have done for a long time and I intend to keep positive although at times its difficult.

Had a phone call from the hospital after I got home asking me to go in on Monday afternoon to be assesed to have a line put in for chemo although they wont be able to fit it until February 28th, thats three weeks away. Why???

Hope you are avoiding this horrible weather we seem to be having recently.


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Quick Update

Had a phone call from the oncologists secretary late this afternoon. He wants to see me tomorrow morning at 11.45 instead of Tuesday. Now this is either good news or bad news. I hope that its the first but fear it might be the latter.

Will tell you the worst when I know it and yes will tell you about my ghost sighting soon.


Bluebell Hill Ghost

Several people have asked for more information about the ghost on Bluebell Hill. If you do a search on the internet there are several sites that will tell you about the sightings and possible explanations.

However most of them refer to a serious road accident in 1965 when a bride to be and her two friends were killed on the eve of there wedding. What they dont mention is that the accident happened on the old road and the ghost appears on the new road which is a dual carriageway which runs from Maidstone to Rochester Airport and the Medway Conurbation. (A229). One sight does mention a sighting back in 1934 so I think the evidence does not support the car crash theory especially as she died in the old West Kent Hospital in maidstone and not at the scene of the accident.

Another theory is that as the road (both old and new) pass very close to Kits Coty which is a prehistoric burial site which predates Stonehenge and where they also celebrate the summer and winter solstices. So there is a chance that at some stage the spirits of the past may of been disturbed. Again a search of thev internet will tell you about Kits Coty.

I would also like to say that having seen a ghost I certainly believe in them but I will tell you more about that another time.

Had a bad day trying to get to work today, was trying to get to Kent House station to do an audit but never managed to get there due to a fatality at Beckenham Junction.

Take Care


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Weekend Miscellany

I had the pleasure (or otherwise) of watching the final of the contest to see who was going to represent the UK in the Eurovision song contest last night. To say I was suitably unimpressed is an understatement. The song which our representative is going to sing in the contest has been written by Andrew Loyd Weber but the acts also had to show there 'vocal talents' by singing other songs as well. The rendition of 'Me and Mrs Jones' but one act was terrible to say the least.

On a personal level my musical tastes are very much jazz orientated and I have a love of female jazz vocalists such as Karrin Allyson, Diana Krall, Jane Monheidt and a special favourite is Gwyneth Herbert who is probably one of the best singer/songwriters in the UK jazz scene at the moment. Word on the grapevine is that she has a new album out in March so there are no prizes for guessing who will be visiting HMV soon.

Last night I was trawling through some jazz tracks on the internet station Last FM and I came across a track by an American vocalist - Ruth Cameron. I had never heard of her before and I liked what I heard but a trawl through the internet showed that she only released one album called First Songs in 2000 and I can not find anything since. I was wondering on a million to one chance if any body reading this has either heard of her or knows if she has released any other material. Her biog states that she used to work in the theatre so maybe First Songs was also her last songs-I hope not.

Winter has reared its ugly head again here in Kent, with snow and freezing temperature set to last until next weekend. The forecast is for 10 to 15 cm of snow overnight with local amounts of up to 3. cms- hibernation sounds like a good idea! Here in Maidstone we are south of the North Downs so hopefully we will escape the worst but people who live on top of Bluebell or Detling hills wont be so lucky. I wonder if the ghost of Blubell Hill will put in an appearance as she only seems to appear on cold dark nights but thats a story for next time.

Take Care and keep warm.